Formal complaint about the behavoiur of Richard Leese, to #Manchester City Council

The following complaint about the actions of the Leader of Manchester City Council has been submitted on Sunday 3rd November.

 

The Monitoring Officer,
Chief Executive’s Department,
Town Hall,
Manchester
M60 2LA or
demserv@manchester.gov.uk

3rd November 2019

Dear Sir/Madam,

Re: Complaint about the behaviour of Richard Leese, member for Crumpsall.

On Wednesday 16th October 2019 the member who I am making a complaint about was acting as the Leader of the Council, chairing a meeting of its Executive.  To be clear, this means he was

“ acting as a Member or Co-opted Member of the Council or an Appointed Member of a Joint Committee, and, references to your official capacity are construed accordingly” and so is subject to the Code of Conduct for members of Manchester City Council, as adopted by the council on 11 July 2012.

I have transcribed the relevant portion of the meeting, from the videostream here.

Time Leese’s statements and claims Comment
0945 I note today there was a letter in the Manchester Evening News about somebody… er, it’s Mr Hudson, but also goes under the name of “Climate Emergency”. I think it’s a personal title that he’s adopted. If Mr Leese had cared to read the letter properly, he would have seen it was from “Climate Emergency Manchester.” For the record, there are five people in the core group of Climate Emergency Manchester. This complaint does not involve the other four, and has not been seen by them before its submission.
10.03 Some members will have seen the blog I did this week, referring to people who ten years ago when we invited everybody in, declined to come and help us with that project of cleaning up the air in this city. Mr Leese has here admitted that his blog ‘How Green is My City’ was in fact about me.  So, he is using a platform, with no comments enabled, to cast aspersions about people he does not like.

Also, the Climate Change Action Plan is not about “cleaning up the air” – it is about the greatest challenge facing our species

10.14 He’s one of the people who declined to be part of the project, and has been declined ever since. This is totally false.  I provide evidence below.
10:22 And again, I think it is about deeds rather than words. I think what we’re getting from a small number of people – I don’t want to exaggerate this, but a small number of people – is a lot of words about what other people should do, particularly about what we should do, rather than taking responsibility themselves.
It appears the responsibility he wants to take is the responsibility not to do something, but to tell us what we should be doing. This is a completely false statement.
10:46 We only account for two per cent, just over two per cent of the emissions of the city. We do have a leadership role for the city as a whole,
10:55 And we take that leadership role very very seriously, but we cannot compel people to do things.
That means we have to take people with us, and if we’re going to take people with us, we have to have a different sort of dialogue from just pointing the finger at people, and accusing them of not doing what they should er, should be doing.
11.16 We also shouldn’t be trying to be dictatorial with people, as well. Typical strawman.  Perhaps Mr Leese might like to refresh himself on the second goal of the 2009 plan, the Council’s leadership role in the creation of a low carbon culture.

With regard to the City Council’s code of conduct for members, I want to highlight the following.

2.3 Honesty and Integrity

“Members should not place themselves in situations where their honesty and integrity may be questioned, should not behave improperly and should on all occasions avoid the appearance of such behaviour.”

In his completely false (and provably so- see appendix) comments about my actions ten years ago, Mr Leese has fallen very far short of the “highest standards of personal conduct in everything they do as a Member.”  (2.1)

He has breached two of the general obligations

3.1 You must not (b) bully or be abusive to any person;

Through his totally false statements, he has been abusive.

  1. “You must not conduct yourself in a manner which could reasonably be regarded as bringing your office or the Council into disrepute.”

Through his false, abusive and bullying statements, Mr Leese has most definitely brought the office of the Leader of the Council into direspute.

 

Evidence that Mr Leese’s statements are totally false.

There is a wealth of documentary evidence that Mr Leese’s statements about my behaviour ten years ago are false. I make note of four.

1)  I have electronic copies of minutes of Environmental Advisory Panel meetings from 2009 to 2012. These list me as attending and contributing to these meetings.  The people dealing with this complaint should look at the Council’s copies.
2)  My name, along with the names of organisations I was closely associated (Manchester Climate Fortnightly and Call to Real Action, appear in the thanks section of the Manchester Climate Change Action Plan, published in November 2009 (see below). If I had “refused to help,”  how could my name, and the names of these organisations, appear there?

thanks page of mcr a cretin future annotated

3) I interviewed Richard Leese in July 2010 and January 2012. If I had ‘refused to help’ he would have a) not done the interviews and b) made the accusations in the interviews.

Here are the relevant links.

https://manchesterclimatefortnightly.wordpress.com/city-council/richard-leese-interview-july-2010/

https://manchesterclimatemonthly.net/interviews/interview-with-sir-richard-leese-jan-2012/

4) In March 2012 I put forward a set of proposals for improving the Environmental Advisory Panel.  These can be seen here.

https://manchesterclimatemonthly.net/about/learn/links/councils-and-agma/eap-proposal/

This was welcomed by Councillor Nigel Murphy, who was then Executive Member for the Environment and is, for now, Deputy Leader of the Council.  See screengrab below.

murphy reply 2012

Two days later (20th March 2012) all members of the Environmental Advisory Panel received an email cancelling the latest meeting (this was a regular occurrence). However, the email also said

There has been some informal discussion about the future role of EAP and, following discussions between Councillor Nigel Murphy and Marc Hudson, we propose to conduct a survey/questionnaire of EAP members ahead of a discussion at the next meeting – likely to be held in early May. We will be working with Marc on the content of the survey/ questionnaire and intend to get that out to you before Easter.

The Council never kept its promise to do this, and the EAP was then abolished, and replaced with a new organisation. I was not invited to attend.

I will be submitting Freedom of Information Act requests about the alleged “refusal” to help the city council.

Resolution of this issue
I have read the procedures for dealing with complaints.  I am aware of the informal resolution mechanisms.

4.2 Types of informal resolution might include:

  • An explanation by the Subject Member of the circumstances surrounding the complaint;
  • An apology from the Subject Member;

Informal resolution of this complaint can be dealt with by the following:

[I then list a text that the member would

a) put on his blog

b) read out at the next Executive meeting.]

About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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